Tuolumne County pot bust also yields $46,000 in cash

04/27/2011 3:13 PM

04/27/2011 3:43 PM

Tuolumne County’s narcotics team seized a marijuana growing operation, 10 pounds of processed marijuana and over $46,000 in cash from a home near Sonora.

It was the largest cash seizure in Tuolumne County history, according to Sgt. Craig Davis of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department.

The home of Steven Edward Neves, 58, was raided Tuesday morning where 72 pot plants were found, Davis said. Also in the home were eight firearms, said to be strategically placed to be accessible to protect the indoor and outdoor grow operation.

Neves has a medical marijuana card but Tuolumne County policy only permits a patient six plants. Davis said one plant typically yields about one pound of processed marijuana.

Tuolumne Narcotics Team agents also found a sophisticated security system that included surveillance cameras and a sensor that alerts a resident if someone approaches the home, Davis said.

Neves is suspected of selling his “high-grade” marijuana for $3,200 a pound, and sending some of it across state lines to his brother in Wisconsin.

Davis said authorities in Wisconsin were alerted and a search of Neves’ brother’s home was also carried out. Davis does not yet know whether any pot was found.

Along with the cash, pot, and weapons, agents seized Neves’ 2005 Toyota Tacoma, believed to have been purchased with proceeds from the pot.

Agents had been conducting surveillance on Neves’ home for several weeks before making their move Tuesday. Records found in Neves’ home indicate he had been growing marijuana since 2006, Davis said.

He was arrested on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, cultivation, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, the sale of marijuana and being armed in the commission of a crime.

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